4: What Creature of Terror?

Lionhart brings us to the room where Maleek and Driesen’s squads encountered the Masked Assassin and the Marked Ones.

As we stand outside the door of the room, I sense my other squad members are tensed. “Everybody, are we ready to face the Masked Assassin?”

Sharon says, “How true are the rumors? That the Masked Assassin can take us all down in a blink of an eye?”

Kang Yu laughs nervously. “It’s a ridiculous rumor created by those who got their butts kicked by the Masked Assassin. They can’t defeat him, so they create a powerful image out of him in order to justify their incompetency. Believe me, nobody is that powerful.”

I want to believe what Kang Yu said. But what about the part where the Masked Assassin destroyed Maleek and Driesen’s squads?

I say, “Kang Yu is right. No matter what, we will fight the Masked Assassin as a team. The only way he could defeat us is if he picks us off one by one. Maleek could be overconfident when he encountered the Masked Assassin. That could have led to his defeat. But I believe our squad can do a better job than that.”

As we enter the room, we are greeted with a sight of terror. Two squads of dead Swordmasters. Many ghouls lie dead on the floor. Maleek and Driesen’s squads put up a good fight with the Masked Assassin’s ghouls, but still they fell.

And the worst part is, the ghouls are so focused on devouring the remains of our fallen comrades, they don’t even notice us entering. We quickly cut down the remaining ghouls in the room.

Kang Yu just stares blankly at the unidentified corpses of our fellow colleagues. “Rest in peace, my friends. Getting eaten by ghouls is not the type of glorious death a Swordmaster would expect.”

I nudge Kang Yu. “I need your crazy theories again. What do you think happened here?”

Kang Yu observes the room and walks to a location where many cuffs are found on the floor. “Maleek and Driesen’s squads found the Marked One’s hideout. The cuffs discarded here means that they successfully captured all the Marked Ones. But then the Masked Assassin arrived and killed the Marked Ones, turning them into ghouls, which bolstered the enemy ranks. Maleek and his Swordmasters got overwhelmed by the ghouls, and were destroyed.”

I do a body count of the Swordmasters who were slain. “It doesn’t add up. There should be twelve bodies, but we only find ten. Where’s another two? Did they survive?”

Kang Yu says, “You’re right. I don’t find Maleek and Driesen among those killed.”

I am concerned that this mission is getting riskier the longer we stay there. “Aside from the Masked Assassin’s ability to kill in a blink of an eye, now he has the power to command the ghouls as well?”

Kang Yu says, “Otherwise, how would he defeat Maleek and Driesen with the ghouls?”

I say, “If the Masked Assassin has control over a large number of ghouls, what strategy do you propose to defeat him?”

Kang Yu says, “We will slowly wither down his team. He will eventually run out of ghouls to defend himself and the Marked Ones. He might kill more of the Marked Ones to raise more ghouls but even the turn-to-ghoul process might take a few minutes. We will destroy the ghouls before they completely turn into one.”

The strategy sounds simple enough. But I still have my doubts. “Isn’t this something Maleek would have easily thought of? Then why were their squads still defeated? Maleek is known for being a cautious person. He wouldn’t fight the enemy if he knew he wouldn’t win. Something must have happened that turned the tide of the battle.”

Kang Yu says, “Perhaps the Masked Assassin laid an ambush for Maleek’s squad. But I’m done speculating crazy theories. We need an actual eyewitness.”

Our squad continues to search the room. Then I see a little figure peeking at my direction from the inside of a closet. “Looks like you just got your wish answered, Kang Yu. There’s someone in the closet.” It’s a little girl and her forehead carries the Mark!

Sharon helps the little girl out from the closet. “Looks like she got separated from her group.”

But Kang Yu is suspicious about the presence of the little girl. “Do you think the Masked Assassin put her there so she could spy on us?”

Sharon is very gentle to the little girl. “Hi there... what’s your name?”

The little girl says, “I’m Nisa. Are you here to capture me like what you did to the rest of my group?”

I ask, “Where is your group, Nisa?”

Nisa says, “The Swordmasters found us and wanted to capture us. Father asked me to hide in the closet. A big fight happened. Then everybody was gone, they left me behind. Is my father going to be alright? Are you all going to throw us into the prison? Please promise that you would keep my father safe.”

Sharon says, “Don’t worry, Nisa. We’ll find your father. Meanwhile, just stick close to me and I’ll take care of you.”

Kang Yu clears his throat. “Sharon, you do know that we need to take Nisa into custody after all this is over, right? Try not to get too friendly with her or you’ll have a hard time doing your job.”

Sharon defends her action. “She’s just a girl who needs someone to protect her, whether she’s a Marked One or not.”

Kang Yu nudges me. “Gideon, you need to tell her about the Itoshi story.”

Sharon gives me a puzzled look. “Everybody in the Academy knows about Itoshi. He was killed by the Marked Ones during a mission. Oh, you are afraid that this little girl with the Mark would kill me?”

Kang Yu says, “I’m afraid there’s a deeper story to the version you knew.”

Sharon turns to me. “Cousin, what is Kang Yu talking about? What deeper story?”

The Itoshi story was very recent and is still fresh in my memory. It’s a story about how our government makes fine examples of people who don’t agree with their stance. “Itoshi was my former squad leader. As he undertook more missions to capture the Marked Ones, he felt that we are not doing the right thing. He had this stance that we must protect all the Marked Ones because they are the victims of war. Many refugees escaped from Hezekiah’s war to our City, only to find themselves captured and imprisoned by the government because the curse of the Mark could potentially turn them into threats. Imagine some war refugees coming to our City to seek protection. But instead of finding protection, they got locked up like some criminals. It’s a life sentence.

“Itoshi didn’t agree with that. He eventually developed sympathy for the Marked refugees he was supposed to capture. He would secretly release the refugees because he believed that they deserved their freedom. However, the authority soon found out about Itoshi’s doing. They arrested him, put him on trial. Itoshi reasoned with the authority and hoped to win them to his perspective—that we need to give the Marked One refugees a second chance to start anew in our City. That the real enemy is Hezekiah, not the Marked Ones.”

Kang Yu says, “Itoshi’s argument sounded exactly like what someone from New Haven would say. We believed that New Haven could have converted him to their cause.”

Sharon says, “So how did the authority respond to his plea?”

“They executed him.”

Sharon is shocked. “What? That’s hardly a fair way for a good-hearted Swordmaster like him to die. Why didn’t I hear about this side of the story before?”

I say, “The authority created a different version of the story. To the public, Itoshi was killed by the Marked Ones during a mission. This story riled up the public and caused them to think that the Marked Ones cannot be trusted because they killed the very benefactor that helped them. But we knew Itoshi was secretly executed because he was helping the Marked Ones.

Kang Yu interrupts, saying, “The point is, under our current government ruling, if you try to help the Marked Ones even if you think it is the right thing to do, you will be executed for treason. No questions asked.”

Sharon sighs at the sad ending of the Itoshi story. “What is your personal stand on this, cousin? If you were in Itoshi’s shoes, would you help the Marked Ones? Or would you be bound by your Swordmaster’s duty to capture the Marked Ones even though they were innocent?”

As much as we want to do the right thing, we live in complicated times. Doing the right thing... sometimes that’s not enough. We want to live long enough to finally be able to do the right thing. We will come to a crossroad where we would have to choose between doing the right thing and thing expected of us. We have to weigh our options before choosing a path.

I give her the best answer I could think of. “I will do what I think is right at the moment.”

Lionhart approaches me with an uncomfortable look on his face. “Gideon, I have bad news. I went to the third floor to scout ahead and found Driesen. He was barely alive. I tried to carry him over to our location but several ghouls roamed the third floor. I hid him in a safe location but he needs our help urgently. I think he may know what actually happened here.”

Kang Yu pulls me by my shoulder. “Perhaps we should retreat, inform Jackal about the situation and not try to take on a mission against an enemy we barely understand. The performance credits for this mission is not worth dying for.”

It’s true that the success of this mission is not worth sacrificing everybody’s life over. But a colleague is injured on the third floor. It would be inhuman to leave him to die when we could possibly rescue him. “Driesen needs our help. We’ll go to his rescue.”

Kang Yu says, “We have already searched the first and second floors. If the Marked Assassin and the ghouls are not here, we are sure to encounter them when we hit the third floor. Are we truly ready to face them when it comes down to that? The enemies have already destroyed Maleek and Driesen’s squads. Perhaps it’s time to retreat.”

I say, “We will get out from this place once we rescue Driesen. After all, if you were in his shoes, you would be expecting your fellow colleagues to come and rescue you as well.”

* * *

Our squad moves up the stairs to the third floor and enters the room where Lionhart claimed he hid Driesen.

Lying on the floor with deep bite wounds on his chest, Driesen tries his hardest to breathe. His voice is almost gone. “Gideon, why are you here? I told Lionhart to get everybody out of here. You shouldn’t have come back for me. The enemies are waiting for more of us to arrive and take us down.”

I say, “We will get you out of here. Did the Masked Assassin unleashed the ghouls on you?”

Driesen says, “The ghouls are the least of our concern. A dark creature of terror currently roams this mansion. Never go face-to-face with it, you will never survive a direct encounter with it.”

I say, “Who destroyed the rest of your squad members?”

Driesen says, “The creature of terror did it.”

I say, “How does the creature of terror look like?”

Driesen says, “I don’t remember. But don’t even try to think of killing it. Get your squad out of this mansion before it finds you.”

Kang Yu says, “Driesen, this creature of terror you mentioned—how certain are you that it’s not the same person as the Masked Assassin?”

Driesen’s voice is fading. “We are totally wrong about the Masked Assassin. He is not our true...” He then breathes his last.

Sharon attempts to fill in the blanks. “The Masked Assassin is not our true enemy? Then who are we truly up against?”

Kang Yu says, “Of course the Masked Assassin is responsible for all these havoc. The Marked Ones couldn’t have arrived here in this mansion on their own. Somebody is killing the Marked Ones to turn them into ghouls. If it’s not the Masked Assassin, then who?

I say, “Driesen said we shouldn’t even try to confront the whatever creature of terror. Strange, when Driesen mentioned about it, I had a feeling that I personally might have encountered it before. But even I can’t remember.”

Kang Yu says, “What a mission! In a matter of an hour, our enemy has changed from an elusive ‘Masked Assassin’ to a ‘Creature of Terror’. When you submit your report to Jackal at the end of the mission, I hope he doesn’t think you’re pulling off some ridiculous stories. I think we should get out of here while we still have the chance.”

Lionhart rushes into the room. “Gideon, I’m afraid a large horde of ghouls is approaching our room and has blocked our route of escape. About thirty of them.”

Kang Yu says, “We should have left this mansion while we had the chance. The Masked Assassin must have released the ghouls from the backyard into the mansion. Now we’re trapped.”

I say, “Lionhart, while you were scouting the mansion, did you find any other way out?”

Lionhart says, “I’ve scouted the next room, which looked like an armory. It will make a full round back to the main hallway and we can escape the mansion from there.”

The armory. Sounds like a plan. Then that’s where we head towards.

Many of my squad members have not encountered ghouls before. Their bites are deadly. Once bitten, there’s no turning back. I feel the necessity to explain the importance of not getting bitten by the ghouls.

I say, “Everybody, listen up. When the ghouls come attacking, do not ever get bitten by them. The venom slowly infects your entire body and eats you from the inside. Those who are not so lucky would usually die within a day. Those who get even the tiniest bite could probably live the longest up to one month before they eventually succumb to its effect. As far as I know, there’s no legitimate cure to it.”

Sharon says, “No legitimate cure? If someone is bitten, then he’s doomed to die.”

Kang Yu says, “No legitimate cure doesn’t mean there is no cure. You have to receive the Mark from the Undead. It cures the venom instantly, but at the cost of corrupting your soul. It’s either ‘be marked or die’.”

I say, “So look out for each other. Guard each other’s back. Now let’s get out from this room.”

As we enter the armory, we find many rows of weapon racks.

Kang Yu says, “That door leads to the main hallway. Lionhart and I will scout the area to make sure our path is clear. Then we will get out of this mansion.”

Kang Yu and Lionhart stealthily exit the door to the main hallway. But a few seconds later, Kang Yu is pulling Lionhart frantically into the armory.

Kang Yu says, “A few ghouls are blocking our path.”

I say, “If their numbers are few, then we’ll fight our way through. That’s our only way out of this mansion.”

Lionhart’s face is ashen. “No, Gideon. You don’t understand. There’s something else out there. The creature of terror is waiting out there.”

Kang Yu says, “I didn’t see anything. Lionhart just froze on the spot as if he saw a ghost. I had to pull him back into the armory before the ghouls spot our presence.”

I say, “How does the creature of terror look like? Why can’t we fight it?”

Kang Yu says, “Ask Lionhart. He saw it. I didn’t.”

Lionhart is still catching his breath. “I don’t know how to say this. I just know that we cannot face an enemy like that. We need to find another way.”

I say, “We don’t have another way out of this mansion. I’m going to go and have a look. Lionhart, I’m sure we have a way to ‘stealth’ our way through the creature of terror.”

Lionhart holds my shoulder. “Gideon, no. If you lead our squad down that path, I’m afraid we may end up exactly the same way like Maleek and Driesen’s squads. You must not let the creature of terror see you. If Kang Yu wasn’t around to pull me back to safety, I’m afraid it would have killed me.”

Those are strong words coming out from Lionhart’s mouth, for someone who believes he can sneak through anyone undetected.

I say, “Our way in from Driesen’s location is blocked by the ghouls. Now our way out down the main hallway is blocked by—I don’t even know what you saw. Fine, then we shall wait till they leave the area. Meanwhile, you all go search for another way out.”

Sharon snaps her finger. “I remembered something. During one of our classes back in the Academy, one of our instructors spoke about encountering this creature of terror during his missions in the Outside World. It is one of the undead creatures employed by the Immortal Lord in his army. Rumors say that nobody knows how the creature of terror looks like. But if you see it with your eyes, it will kill you.”

Sharon is right. Perhaps that explains why Lionhart could see it while Kang Yu didn’t. The creature of terror was attempting to attack Lionhart.

Sharon says, “Everywhere the creature of terror goes, it leaves a trail of dead bodies. People just die without putting up a fight. That’s what those from the Outside World would say.”

Something clicks in my memory that I may have encountered one myself in the past. But why can’t I remember how this creature looked like?

Nisa looks like she has her own story to tell. “When the Swordmasters attacked us, my father asked me to hide in the wall crack. So I did. When the undead attacked, I heard the Swordmasters screamed like they were having bad dreams, and then it was all quiet. When the undead finally left, all the Swordmasters were dead. The creature of terror had killed them all.”

Kang Yu says, “Are you certain it’s not the Masked Assassin who did all these?”

Nisa pauses for a while and shakes her head. “No, this was not an Assassin’s doing.”

Sharon says, “Cousin, what are we really up against? Why didn’t Jackal tell us about such dangers?

I reply, “I think Jackal had no clue as well. Same with Maleek and Driesen.”

Kang Yu approaches me after finishing his survey of the entire room. “Gideon, there’re three doors in this armory. First door—that’s where we came in from, Driesen’s location. Second door—it leads to the main hallway and the stairs, basically our way out of this mansion. There’s a third door—a metal door. But strangely, it’s locked from the inside.”

I have found the answer to our target’s location. “We’ve searched all the rooms in this mansion. That’s the last room we have yet to search. So Nisa’s father and the rest of the Marked Ones are certainly hiding behind the metal door. Lionhart, is there any way we could unlock the metal door?”

Lionhart shrugs. “There’s no way to enter from our side. The metal door is locked from the other side. It’s like a safe room. Jega tried to pry the door open but it wouldn’t even budge.”

Kang Yu says, “So the Marked Ones locked themselves comfortably in there. How did they get in there in the first place?”

Lionhart says, “I’m sure it was unlocked when the Marked Ones first found it.”

Sharon says to Nisa, “We believe that your father could be behind this metal door. Do you know of any way to open that door?”

Nisa says, “I don’t know. This is my first time here.”

Something bursts forth from the nearby weapon rack and runs straight for Lionhart. I shout,“Lionhart, a ghoul behind you!”

In Lionhart’s quick reflex, he turns behind, swings his sword and cuts the ghoul in half. It lets out a loud shriek, and then Lionhart gives a final blow into its skull.

Kang Yu says, “That loud scream—the ghoul just alerted its friends to our presence.”

I hear ghouls movement coming in from Driesen’s location. Same as the door down the hallway. The ghouls are moving near. “Quick, barricade the doors with whatever furniture you can find.”

Sharon and Jega push some furniture to hold the first door, while Lionhart and Tori barricade the second door. The pounding on both doors begin. But at least the barricades are strong enough to hold them for now.

Now we’re officially trapped in this room with no way out. I speak to my squad members, “You all hold the barricade at the doors. I think we’re stuck with nowhere to escape. Whoever is behind the metal door, we have to get them to open the door for us.”

Kang Yu says, “The Marked Ones are unlikely to open the metal door so that we could capture them. The ghouls will keep on pushing the doors and they will never run out of energy. On the other hand, we will eventually get tired and hungry. We can’t stay in this room forever.

I say, “Then we’ll strike a deal with Marked Ones. Nisa’s father is in there, we can tell that we have their daughter. If they choose to help us, we’ll give them a safe passage at the end of the mission.”

Kang Yu doesn’t seem to agree. “You’re trying to pull an Itoshi trick by letting them go? You know what would happen to us if the authority finds out.”

“As opposed to rotting and dying in this mansion, what other alternatives can you think of?”

Kang Yu says, “Jackal said his reinforcements will arrive at the second hour. We can wait for his rescue.”

I say, “I’d rather we settle this mission ourselves without depending on Jackal’s help.”

Kang Yu says, “Okay, we’ll do it your way first.”

Standing at the metal door, I give several knocks on it. Then Kang Yu shouts into the metal door, “Whoever that is inside, we want to offer you a deal. We’re not here to capture you. But if you open the door, we can help to create a safe passage for you. If you refuse to work with us, remember, we have your daughter Nisa here with us and we will…”

I say, “Kang Yu, you’re threatening them. We’re supposed to be persuading them to open the door.”

Kang Yu says, “We’re the law enforcers. It’s weird asking help from the very people we’re supposed to capture.”

I say, “We don’t have a choice at this moment. Let me do it.” I knock on the metal door. “To my friends who is inside, we would like to work with you to get out of this place. You can open up the door, we can figure out ways to escape the ghouls. Your daughter Nisa is with us, we want to get her out alive too.”

There is no response from the Marked Ones. I knock on the metal door again. “Hello, anybody inside?” There is still no response.

Kang Yu sniggers. “Unfortunately, they chose to reply us with silence.”

Wait, I hear movement sound. “I know you’re in there. If you are listening to me, we would like to find a way to work together and get out of this mansion.” There is still no response.

Kang Yu kicks the door hard enough. “Hey! Just open the door for us!”

I say, “No luck. Let’s continue to search for other ways.”

Kang Yu, Lionhart and I move deeper beyond the armory, where we find a large study area filled with bookshelves and tables.

Kang Yu points towards the many windows on the far side of the study area. “We could try breaking those windows and escape the mansion.”

Lionhart runs his hands over the material of the windows. “The windows are made of thick multi-layered glass. It’s almost impossible to break them.”

I say, “Even if we manage to break the windows, how are we supposed to climb our way down a three-level mansion?”

While we are searching the study room, I hear a loud crack. I look up. To my horror, about a dozen ghouls jump and climb their way down from the ceiling.

In a quick moment of reflex, Kang Yu has already fired a few arrows on the ghouls descending from the ceiling. Lionhart and I get close enough to kill each of the ghouls.

While Kang Yu is busy shooting his arrows, the trapdoor from the ceiling falls on him and throws him off-guard while three ghouls surround him.

I shout, “Use your sword, Kang Yu!”

Noticing that Kang Yu is never going to draw his sword in time, I run over to his location together with Lionhart. “Hold them a little longer. We are going to strike them from behind.” Lionhart and I swing our swords and cut down the three ghouls before they could get their hands on Kang Yu.

Another ghoul runs towards the defenseless Nisa who is standing nearby. Sharon rushes from her position to help Nisa fend off the ghoul attack. “Nisa, I’m coming for you.”

The ghoul who was pursuing Nisa at first, stops and pushes towards Sharon instead. Sharon is knocked to the ground by the weight of the ghoul.

Kang Yu and I rush over to kill the ghoul attacking Sharon. I offer a hand and lift Sharon from the ground. “Sharon, are you fine? Check yourself for any bite wounds.”

Sharon sweeps the ghoul blood of her armor. “I’m alright. He almost got me. Right now, I just have to worry about washing their blood stain off myself.”

I give my cousin a hug. “Trust me, the blood stain would be the least of your concerns if you were bitten. I’m glad you’re alright. I wouldn’t know what to say to your mother if you were hurt in any way.”

Kang Yu says, “No hugs for me? I almost died too.”

I say, “I know you have a dislike for using swords. But in a close quarter fight, your sword will do a better job protecting you than your bow and arrows.”

Kang Yu points towards an opening on the ceiling. “I would have drawn my sword, but I was caught off-guard when the ghouls dropped the trapdoor on me. But how did they get there in the first place?”

That’s the answer we have been looking for. “I don’t know how they get there. But that looks like our way out.”

Kang Yu looks dubious. “Are you sure there aren’t more ghouls waiting in there?”

“It’ll be my job to find out what is beyond the trapdoor. I’ll go and clear a path first. If it’s safe, we’ll get everybody to escape through this trapdoor.”

Kang Yu says, “We should come with you.”

I shake my head. “No, the moment we leave the barricades, the ghouls would barge in from both doors, giving not enough time for everyone to get through the trapdoor.”

Sharon says, “We’re worried that if you encounter the creature of terror alone, we’re not around to help you.”

Lionhart doesn’t look too happy that I’m leaving the whole squad behind. “I should be the one going up to find out what is happening. Sneaking around dark corners is my thing.”

I say, “We have no idea what lies beyond that trapdoor. I won’t put your life at risk unnecessarily.”

Lionhart says, “Then please promise that you would come back for us no matter what.”

I put my hand on Lionhart’s shoulder. “I will be back. Hold this room and look out for each other until I return.”

I notice that concerned look on Lionhart’s face. “Kang Yu, why is Lionhart so upset about my actions?”

Kang Yu says, “During a past mission, his former squad leader abandoned Lionhart to save his own skin. He is afraid you might do the same to us.”

I say, “Look me in the eyes and tell me that I’m that kind of squad leader. You squad members entrust your lives to my leadership. I will never ever abandon you all. What more a good friend and my dear cousin are here.”

Kang Yu says, “I know you won’t abandon us. I trust you will find a way out for us.”

Kang Yu and I move a bookshelf and position it directly below the ceiling trapdoor. I climb to the top of the bookshelf but I still can’t reach the trapdoor.

Kang Yu gives me a boost and then I climb through the trapdoor. The attic is dark and dusty, lit by a dim sunlight from the window.

Kang Yu says, “Can you see anything?”

First thing for me to do is to scan for danger. So far I find no ghouls lurking around. “It’s dark here. Let me find my way around.”

Kang Yu says, “Just come back here quickly if you encounter any danger like some man-eating giant spiders.”

As I walk through the attic looking for a way out, my left leg is caught in a wooden crack. Oh no! The ground I stand on is giving away. The wooden floor breaks with a loud noise. Uncontrollably, I fall through it into another room.

The fall hurts a little, but at least my armor absorbs most of the impact. As I pick myself up, I find myself in a room, lit by torches. Torches that lit by itself? Probably not. Somebody else is here, I know it.

I grab my sword lying on the floor. I scout around and I see weapons, armors, and equipment used by people whom I once knew. This looks like a Paladin’s Strategy Room. The place where the knights of Light discuss plans to fight the war against the Immortal Lord Hezekiah.

Yes, I remember. A Paladin’s sword. A Paladin’s gloves. A Paladin’s armor. A Paladin’s shield. I saw my mother keeping those when I was much younger.

And wait, I see a dark shadow. No, it is not the creature of terror Driesen mentioned. This is it! We have been searching this mansion far and low for him, and of all places, I find him here one-on-one.

I say, “Masked Assassin! It is time to put an end to all the madness you have caused!”

The Masked Assassin, wearing a black mask with his intimidating eyes staring at me, armed with a Paladin’s sword he found in the room, stretches out his hand and taunts me to make my first move.

What should I do? I hear many stories about how the Masked Assassin could kill a person in a blink of an eye. This goes against every advice that I shouldn’t face the Masked Assassin alone. But here I am, one-on-one, ready to fight the Masked Assassin to the death.

Would I survive this fight? I need to survive this fight. My cousin is still locked away in the armory. My squad is waiting for me to return. I need to get them to safety.

If I defeat the Masked Assassin, this would earn me the performance credits my squad desperately needs. The Masked Assassin is New Haven’s top operative assigned to recruit the Marked Ones from the Outside World so that they can launch a full-scale attack on our City. I would have put a heavy dent on New Haven’s sinister operation.

The flame from the torches flickers brightly. The Masked Assassin stands unwavering as if his expression is asking me ‘what are you waiting for?’.

I lurch forward towards the Masked Assassin with a tight grip of my sword ready to swing.

Who is going to win this fight?